tue 07/02/2023

Shakespeare

Titus Andronicus, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse review - notorious play hits and misses

If All's Well That Ends Well, Measure for Measure and Troilus and Cressida have earned the sobriquet "‘problem plays", what price Titus Andronicus? Does a director seek out a Saw vibe for the horror? Do they go for a deadpan Spinal Tap’s...

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Othello, Lyric Hammersmith review - Frantic Assembly's high-energy take on the Moor

Frantic Assembly’s Othello, originally co-developed with the Lyric in 2008, is back in its third iteration, and it’s still not exactly the play you studied at school or saw other companies perform. In some ways, that’s all to the good.Frantic’s...

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As You Like It, @sohoplace review - music-filled, warm-hearted celebration

The scene is set onstage in the first minutes. And it remains a stage throughout this harmonious production. The action takes place in a severe court and a more liberal forest, but really the setting is always a place of imagination, a theatre....

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Othello, National Theatre review - ambitious but emotionally underpowered

Clint Dyer is the first black director of Othello at the National Theatre, a venue that once staged the piece with its actor founder Laurence Olivier playing the lead role in blackface. We are reminded of this now-reviled practice before...

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The Tempest, Shakespeare's Globe review - occasional gales of laughter drown out subtlety

Alexei Sayle, in his angry young man phase, once said that you can always tell when you’re watching a Shakespeare comedy, because NOBODY'S LAUGHING. That’s not entirely true, of course, but sometimes a director has to go looking for the LOLs and...

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Much Ado About Nothing, National Theatre review - Shakespeare’s comedy goes Hollywood musical

After gender-flipping the National’s Malvolio, the director Simon Godwin might have been expected to be equally bold with Much Ado About Nothing at the same address. A same-sex Beatrice and Benedick romance? Dogberry in bondage gear, zonked out on...

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The Tempest, Theatre Royal, Bath review - multi-dimensional Shakespeare classic overpowered by comedy

The Tempest, a rich and profound late work, is probably Shakespeare’s most complex and layered play: the combination of power politics, philosophy, magic and romance is dizzying and a challenge to any director who attempts to encompass the...

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First Person: director Richard Wilson on a musical midsummer night film premiere

In today’s near-normal times it is easy to forget how hard COVID-19 had hit the music industry, especially for touring orchestras like the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Masked, socially-distanced performances; streamed concerts from empty...

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King Lear, Shakespeare's Globe review - eviscerates emotionally while illuminating a society rotten with lies

Kathryn Hunter’s performance as Lear forges its heat from contradictions. She is as frail as she is strong, as detestable as she is loveable, as powerfully charismatic as she is physically diminutive. That she is a woman playing a man is the least...

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Julius Caesar, Shakespeare's Globe review - the Bard buried in bad choices

With tyrants licking their lips around the world and the question of how to respond to their threat growing ever more immediate, Julius Caesar director Diane Page eyes an open goal – and misses. A statue stands alone on the stage (this touring...

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The Merchant of Venice, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse review - enormous empathy

The Merchant of Venice is a comedy, you say? Shakespeare, as ever, refuses to be confined to convenient boxes, his best plays’ extraordinary pliability and longevity a testament to the piercing eye he cast towards the slings and arrows that assail...

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Henry V, Donmar Warehouse review - playing at war

Sharp suits swapped for combat fatigues, a people’s commander: you’d think that Max Webster’s production of Shakespeare's  surprisingly nuanced propaganda history-play would have special resonance in a week which has seen horrors and heroism...

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